Sailors boys lacrosse 9-0 after heart-stopping home win
April 5, 2014
Steamboat Springs — The celebration along the Steamboat Springs High School lacrosse sideline was epic when the regulation clock hit zeroes.
Coaches and players pounced in jubilation. Players raised their sticks in the air and screamed. And the shot didn't even count.
It was an unlikely scenario, anyway: sophomore Drew Williamson flinging in a last-second shot that would have capped off a remarkable four-goal run to steal victory for a team Sailors coach Jay Lattimore wasn't certain would field a single underclassman.
But on a sunny Saturday afternoon, it took just a few minutes into overtime for senior Ben Wharton to vault the Sailors to a 14-13 win against Cheyenne Mountain, a score the officials couldn't mitigate.
And just like that, Steamboat is a perfect 9-0 on the heels of the school's most thrilling win in 2014.
Steamboat, staring at a 13-10 deficit with just 2:31 to play, mounted a furious rally in the final 151 seconds, ripping in three unanswered goals, not including Williamson's shot at the buzzer that — if it hadn't been waved off by officials — would have marked a regulation victory for the ages.
Senior Peter White opened the fourth-quarter rally, taking a pass from Wharton and sliding it past Indians goalie Nate Robledo to make it a 13-11 deficit. Then Wharton made it a one-score game 30 seconds later.
And as the clock ticked to 13 seconds, White grabbed an Erik Sobeck assist and sunk the hearts of the upset-minded Indians with an equalizer of his own, forcing a 13-13 overtime contest.
"A lot of time left on the clock," Lattimore said about facing a three-goal hole in the waning minutes. "Lacrosse is very fast-paced and there's always a lot of time left. They never ducked their heads once, even when there was just two minutes left down by three. They knew what they had to do. One goal a minute."
The way Steamboat found itself in that hole was a story of early back-and-forth goals that turned into back-and-forth rallies.
Steamboat and Cheyenne Mountain exchanged goals through the first eight scores of the game, marking a 4-4 deadlock with 4:55 to go in the first half.
Then the Sailors took control with three goals from White, Willy Gunn and Wharton to grab a 7-4 halftime lead.
"We all did a good job of answering each other," Lattimore said. "That's the great thing about lacrosse. When you don't let a team put multiple goals in the net and you can answer right back, that's what kind of keeps you in the game and at a reachable distance."
But Steamboat's three-goal lead would be short lived. Cheyenne Mountain raced out of the gates in the second half, scoring 10 of the game's next 13 goals. The Indians held a 13-10 lead before Steamboat's last-ditch comeback.
Lattimore admitted that his team had a serious talk just a few weeks back following a visit to Grand Junction. The team talked about living to its full potential to compete with the state's best in order to seal wins against the likes of Thompson Valley and Cheyenne Mountain.
"It was huge coming back from three down with two minutes left," Wharton said. "It shows the character on our team that we're not going to give up. The D made some big stops and we put some in."
Wharton led the charge for the second game in a row, pouring in five goals. White added four, Gunn pitched in a pair, and Sobeck, Williamson and Mitch McCannon each scored one.
In the net, senior goalie Kaleb VanArsdale faced his stiffest test of the year, giving up more goals than he had in any other game. But the DePauw-bound Sailor also swallowed up 13 Cheyenne Mountain shots, including critical Indians opportunities in the final eight minutes of regulation and overtime.
Steamboat's week proved to potentially be its toughest of the season. The Sailors' next four opponents have a combined record of 12-13 before their regular-season finale against 9-1 Aspen at Gardner Field.
"It's awesome for seeding especially now that we've beat Thompson Valley and Cheyenne Mountain," Wharton said about being undefeated. "We're obviously top tier in this division."